Visual storytelling through videos and photographs can strengthen your inbound marketing strategy. Visual media is crucial to capturing the attention of people in a culture characterized by the desire for instant gratification.
Images are highly suited to such a mentality because the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than it processes verbal information. Videos increase click-throughs by 300% and people share video ads 63 times more than they did 10 years ago.
But the appeal of visual information goes beyond the fact that it is easy to process.
Award-winning photographer Reza Deghati says that the “camera is the most powerful tool ever invented.” Visual media crosses cultural boundaries, providing people throughout the world with the opportunity to share their unique perspectives and stories.
Even Radio Needs to Be Visual
As an example of just how important visual media is, even those in the radio business are investing in it.
A significant number of people want to consume NPR’s news in a digital format. The National Public Radio website has over 30 million viewers per month; this is just one example of the current need for every organization to have a digital presence.
The company has adapted by posting online articles and photographs that are relevant to its radio programs, in addition to posting the links to its broadcasts.
There are many examples of brands telling compelling stories through visual media. Online retailer ModCloth puts its products in the context of female friendship and sisterhood. Patagonia’s narrative is one of adventure and caring for the environment.
Nick Offerman (of Parks and Rec fame) uses his carpentry business to tell a story of rugged manliness. Twoodie, a Japanese company that sells wooden toys, portrays a life filled with art, beauty, and playfulness. Slow Factory, manufacturer of silk scarves, unites its brand with a care for the environment and human rights.
Strategies for Visual Storytelling
So how do you tell a visual story briefly, but in a compelling way? Consider Whole Foods, whose narrative is about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The company uses Instagram to post beautiful pictures of nutritious, delicious food.
When most people think of a “story,” they usually think of a book. However, you don’t have to go into great detail recounting a long tale to your customers. As long as you know what your story is, you can create content that alludes to it.
You can also use videos or photos to tell the backstory of your company, giving your customers a peek behind the scenes. Show them how your company operates, or give them a glimpse into the lives of your employees.
ABC World News uses this tactic to make a personal connection with its viewers. Instagram and SnapChat are both great platforms for posting photos and videos of the daily workings of your company.
You can also highlight causes that both you and your online audience care about. Publishing company Random House creates pictures capitalizing on the fact that reading is a lifestyle for its customers. The organization consequently has one and half million followers on Pinterest.
Another option is to explain the why behind your decisions. Something that Apple is good at is not only highlighting a new feature but also explaining the story behind why the company had to create it. Videos are an excellent medium for communicating a product’s backstory.
Finding Photos and Videos to Tell Your Story
Sometimes you’ll need a quick way to get free photos to use for your marketing. Finding copyright-free photos can be tricky, and there are quite a few websites where you can download some. Pixabay, Pexels, and Unsplash are helpful resources for free images, as are Wikimedia Commons, Image After, FreeImages, and even Flickr. Flickr, of course, has many copyrighted photographs on it, but it also contains quite a few photos (as well as videos) that are copyright-free.
If you’re looking for a resource through which you can bulk download Flickr photos, in addition to backing them up on your hard drive, Bulkr is one helpful tool for doing so. The application allows you to easily download hundreds of photos and videos at a time.
While last year Flickr made it possible for users to bulk download their own photographs, sometimes that feature can be finicky. Also, unless you have a tool such as Bulkr, videos still have to be downloaded from Flickr one at a time. And as well as accomplishing bulk downloads of significant sizes, Bulkr can even resume downloads that have been interrupted.
Visual Storytelling Appeals to Everyone
Visual storytelling is a key aspect of solid content marketing. How many of us have been stunned by an imaginative photograph only to be even more awed when we see how an artist’s work fits together like the pieces of a puzzle?
You have likely already taken time to determine what values your brand represents. But the more you can unite your sales efforts under one storyline and communicate that story visually, the more powerful your marketing strategy will be.
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